Thieves that try to steal other people's identities have showed their opportunism before by targeting those affected by major natural disasters. Now they're moving on to attacking consumers with diabetes.
According to a report from the Mississippi Attorney General's office, this new wave of attacks against people with diabetes is effective for several reasons. They first started happening in Mississippi, and thieves posed as representatives of either the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi or the American Diabetes Association. Thieves would call only those they knew had the disease, and ask for information related to personal and financial identity, like a Social Security number, dates of birth and credit card information.
Both the organizations that these criminals claim to represent have reported complaints to the Consumer Protection Division of the Mississippi Attorney General's Office, which said that no organization of this type would initiate a phone call like this. Legitimate groups never ask consumers to provide, update or confirm sensitive information over the phone, and consumers should make sure to contact such groups prior to turning over information to anyone claiming to represent them.
"Unfortunately, scam artists will often use the name of reputable organization to lure consumers into thinking they are dealing with a familiar organization," said Attorney General Jim Hood. "Because of this, we continue to urge consumers to use caution before acting on unsolicited emails, voice mails, text messages or phone calls requesting personal information. Educating our consumers is one of the most important actions we can take to combat scams like this one."
The Attorney General's Office urged any consumer who thinks they may have unwittingly fallen for this scam to contact them so that they can gain more information about how the identity thieves operate.
According to a recent report in the Insurance Journal, identity thieves have also been calling Americans with a disability or disease and representing themselves as salesmen from bogus health insurance companies. These thieves prey upon consumers' worry that they won't be able to find proper health coverage, especially if they have a pre-existing condition. This, the report said, has been a growing problem that was first seen two and a half years ago. Nearly 60 percent of state fraud bureaus have seen a sharp rise since fake health plans in that time.